Humans are a shitty species.
Take a month-old baby. You throw it in the ocean and what happens? It dies.
Pretty fucking useless, no? Take a month-old cuttlefish, though, and throw it in the ocean and it thrives.
In numerous ways a human baby couldn’t even comprehend. A new study found that baby cuttlefish are already aces at math, and can count to five.
Could you count to five at a month? Hell no. You can barely count to five now, and you are college educated. But cuttlefish don’t get no college. They learn in the seas.
So found researchers at Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University. From Discover Magazine:
The researchers hatched cuttlefish eggs and waited until the animals were a month old. Then they started testing the young cephalopods. In each test, a cuttlefish waited on one end of a tank, and researchers lowered a two-chambered box with clear walls into the other end. A partition jutted out from the center of the box toward the cuttlefish. As it swam toward the apparatus, the cuttlefish would have to make a choice between one chamber and the other.
To see how well the animals can count, the researchers put different numbers of shrimp into each of the box’s chambers, ranging from 1 to 5. If there were 5 shrimp in one side of the box and just 1 in the other, the choice ought to be easy. But could cuttlefish reliably choose 2 shrimp over 1, or 3 shrimp over 2? What about 5 over 4?
You think cuttlefish couldn’t handle a task that would confound a two-year-old?
They fucking killed it.
The scientists tested 54 cuttlefish. As expected, the animals had no problem picking a bunch of shrimp over a single shrimp. But they also passed every other test they were given. Cuttlefish were significantly more likely to pick the side of the box with more shrimp, even when choosing between 4 and 5.
They know how to count, and do math in their head, and the concept of more.
That … ain’t that some fucking shit?
In fact, at a month old, cuttlefish make all sorts of cognitive decisions.
Math isn’t the only factor influencing a cuttlefish’s decisions, though. Cuttlefish prefer live victims, and when researchers offered their subjects 1 live shrimp or 2 dead ones, they chose the former. When offered one big, fat shrimp or two smaller shrimp, hungry cuttlefish took the big one—but cuttlefish that had already eaten chose the two small shrimp. This might be because the big shrimp is a more tempting prize, but riskier for a young hunter to grapple with. For a cuttlefish who isn’t especially hungry, it might not be worth the risk.
Makes human babies look stupid as hell.